The infamous lasagna gate incident back in 2006 was certainly a day to forget for everyone associated with Tottenham Hotspur.
The club looked to be on the brink of qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in their history and needed to match Arsenal’s result in their final game of the season to seal fourth spot.
However, in the build-up to the crunch match against West Ham, a number of Tottenham players, including Michael Carrick and Robbie Keane, were taken ill with suspected food poisoning.
Martin Jol was thus forced to field a weakened team, as well as some who felt under the weather, at Upton Park. Tottenham lost the match, allowing Arsenal to pip them to the final Champions League qualification spot.
It took the Lilywhites almost four years after the incident to eventually achieve Champions League qualification, and it is clear that Jermain Defoe hasn’t forgotten that fateful day.
An investigation into the incident later confirmed that instead of food poisoning, players had actually been suffering from norovirus, with the hotel cleared of any blame (Football.London).
While Defoe didn’t allege a conspiracy, he did admit to finding the timing quite strange.
Speaking to Sky Sports’ Transfer Window Podcast, the Rangers star recalled: “I remember the build-up to the game. It was massive for the football club. We felt like we deserved it, I remember going into the game and everyone was buzzing.
“We had the evening meal, and going to bed, and I remember a call from the doctor to ask how I was feeling, because a lot of the lads were not well.
“I thought it was like one or two, but quite a few were struggling, like Michael Carrick, who was unbelievable, a great signing. And we needed those players for a tough game against West Ham, so it was a negative going into it.
“When you look back now, you don’t want to say it was a conspiracy, but it was strange what happened for so many players to get ill the night before a massive game. I don’t know, maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.”
When asked if Spurs would have qualified for Europe’s premier club competition if key players hadn’t been taken ill, the striker responded: “I think so, yeah.”
Spurs Web Opinion
The lasagne-gate incident certainly set us back at least five years as a club. The extra Champions League money would have been huge for us back in 2006 as it would have allowed us to compete to a certain extent with the old ‘Big Four’ who were miles ahead of us financially back then.
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